As the crisis in Haiti has wound down and the world seems to have forgotten their outrage; however I think it is important for Christians to examine the events that happened and perform a post-mortem on the events.
- First I think it important to note that the world’s outrage came because these Christians’ intended to act upon their beliefs. The evidence seems abundant that the missionaries had no malicious intentions. They left their homes, security, and lives behind to respond to a physical crisis as the Savior would. Perhaps the greatest crime in the eyes of the world occurred as these Christians refused to sit back and allow official aid workers leave those children in physical squalor and spiritual despair. Their work aimed to resolve the children’s physical needs and offer them spiritual hope in Christ.
- Second I think it is also important to note that the outrage of the world was disguised as outrage against an illegitimate effort to transport the children to orphanages across the border in the Dominican Republic. That a lack of paperwork masked this outrage is nothing new. Those opposed to Christ always find something in the minutia of Christian efforts to attack since a direct attack on the Savior would rile many people.
- Finally, I want to assert that as Christians we must be aware of these factors and prepare ourselves for such opposition. We cannot stop serving Christ as we feel led to meet physical needs. We also cannot afford for anyone to take offense to our methods thus missing the spiritual relief we offer in Christ.
Think with me about 1st Corinthians 1:22-25. Paul mentions this tension in verse 22 by pointing out that both Jews and Greeks demand something in order to listen to his message. Today we face the same problem with the common man wanting to know we care while the cultural elites want to know that we do everything legitimately. Paul’s answer to this tension is one to which we should cling. He pleases neither group but preaches a crucified Christ which offends both. We must make sure that we serve God as we feel led, but never allow anything to get in the way of the gospel we preach. If the world sees our incomplete paperwork instead of our crucified Savior, this is inexcusable. As hard as it seems, we should want people to become offended at the cross, not consumed with the consequences of an incomplete form. Verse 24 states that the same cross which offends is the power and wisdom of God. In other words the cross gives us the wisdom to repent and trust the power of Christ’s resurrection to make us new creatures. Even though it seems like foolishness, this foolishness and weakness according to verse 25 is the instrument the Spirit uses to break the pride of sinful man and draw him unto salvation.
The Haitian missionaries had honorable intentions from everything that I have read, however their innocence does not negate the fact that their disregard of official paperwork led to the inexcusable consequence of an obscured gospel message.